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Friday, May 15, 2020

The Hemy Neuman Murder Case

     In the late 1980s, Hemy Neuman, a young American engineer living and working in Israel, met his future wife Ariela, an Israeli-born school teacher. In 2010, the 47-year-old engineer and his stay-at-home wife were separated. Hemy had moved out of their lavish home in Cobb County, Georgia in August of that year. While Neuman had a high-paying job as a project manager with GE Energy, he was in financial trouble. His expensive lifestyle--the big house, luxury cars, expensive restaurants, and elaborate vacations--had caught up with him. His three children were also attending college. Now his wife was filing for divorce.

     Ariela Neuman had kicked Hemy out of the house because she believed he was having an affair with a 36-year-old woman he had hired at GE. Neuman and Andrea Schneiderman, his suspected lover, denied the accusation. Andrea's husband, Russell "Rusty" Schneiderman, although he had a MBA from Harvard, was out of work. The couple had two young children.

     On the morning of November 18, 2010, Rusty Schneiderman dropped off his 2-year-old son at the Dunwoody Prep nursery school 15 miles north of Atlanta. As the father returned to his car, Hemy Neuman walked up behind him, and with a .40-caliber Bersa handgun, shot him several times. Schneiderman fell dead at the scene. Neuman climbed into a rented Kia minivan and drove off.

     A week before the murder, Neuman, wearing a fake beard, had crept up to Schneiderman's house with the intent of shooting him there. Hemy's plan fell apart when his intended target came out of the house to check on a gas leak and saw this bearded man lying in his yard. Neuman jumped to his feet and ran off.

     When Neuman's wife Ariela learned of Rusty Schneiderman's murder in front of the Dunwoody nursery school, she knew that Hemy had killed him over Andrea. She called the police and filled them in on her estranged husband's affair with the dead man's wife. Ariela described Hemy Neuman as a risk taking control freak obsessed with money and his career.

     Several weeks after the police arrested Neuman on January 4, 2011, he admitted that he had murdered Rusty Schneiderman. He claimed, however, that at the time of the shooting, he was so insane he didn't comprehend the nature and quality of his act. In other words, he was so crazy he didn't know right from wrong. After the killing, Hemy regained his sanity, but when he pulled the trigger in front of the nursery school, he was so mentally ill he didn't know what he was doing. That was his defense, temporary legal insanity. Investigators didn't buy it, and neither did the prosecutor. If Neuman was crazy, he was crazy like a fox.

     In February 2012, charged with malice murder (other states call it first-degree murder or capital murder) and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Hemy Neuman went on trial in a De Kalb County court in Decatur, Georgia.

     The prosecutor played, for the jury of 9 man and 3 women, a video-taped jailhouse interview of the defendant by psychiatrist Dr. Pamela Crawford. During the interview, Neuman told Dr. Crawford that he had initially considered stabbing Rusty Schneiderman to death. But he changed his mind because it would be too messy. The defendant thought about poisoning his victim, but rejected that idea as too complicated and unreliable. Staging a fatal accident had also crossed Neuman's mind, but in the end he settled on shooting the man to death at close range. He preferred this method because it was simple and sure-fire.

     Following the video, Dr. Crawford testified that a truly delusional, psychotic person would not have gone through the above thought process. A really crazy person would have acted impulsively, without all of that thinking and planning. The defendant, in her expert opinion, wasn't crazy. The entire insanity defense was a sham.

     For the defense, Dr. Andriana Flores, a forensic psychologist, testified that Neuman suffered from an undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder accompanied by psychosis. (In other words, he had no history of mental illness.) According to the psychologist, Neuman suffered from delusions and a condition called erotomania. As an erotomania sufferer, the defendant only thought he was having an affair with the wife of the man he shot to death. (Too bad he had only thought he had murdered Scneiderman.) And it got better: Before the killing, Hemy Neuman, according to Dr. Flores, had been visited by an angel with Oliva Newton-John's voice who informed him that Schneiderman's children were actually his. This revelation was reinforced by a message from a second angel who sounded like Barry White!

     On March 14, after two days of deliberation, the jury, presented with three possible verdicts--guilty; not guilty by virtue of insanity; or guilty but mentally ill--found Hemy Neuman guilty but mentally ill. That meant that while he would receive mental health treatment, he'd get it while serving his time in prison. The next day, the judge sentenced Neuman to life behind bars with no chance of parole.

     On Thursday, August 2, 2012, Andrea Sneiderman, the wife of the man Hemy Neuman murdered, was charged with malice murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, racketeering, two counts of perjury, and two counts of insurance fraud. According the Andrea Schneiderman's indictment, she and the convicted killer were having an affair. The couple conspired to kill Rusty Schneiderman with the intent of "acquiring property, money, and life insurance proceeds." The murdered man's wife had received a $2 million life insurance payment as well as $960,000 in various bank accounts.

     In July 2013, following a two-hour hearing, Judge Gregory Adams dropped the murder, racketeering and insurance fraud charges against Schneiderman. The prosecutor had lost confidence in the reliability of a key prosecution witness. Sneiderman still faced thirteen other criminal charges related to the murder of her husband.

     Andrea Schneiderman, a month later, was convicted of nine felonies in connection with the Neuman case. She did not testify on her own behalf. The jury found her guilty of four counts of perjury, three counts of giving false statements, one count of hindering the apprehension of a criminal, and a count of concealing material facts.

     On August 20, 2013 at the sentencing hearing, Schneiderman's friends and family testified on her behalf. When it came her turn to speak to the court, Schneiderman said, "Please let me go home to my kids. Please don't let them live without their mother." The De Kalb County District Attorney asked the judge to send Sneiderman away for twenty years. Judge Adams didn't send this woman home, and he didn't put her behind bars for twenty years. He sentenced her to five years in prison.


  1. I saw in the video of her plea to the judge that she denied ever having an affair with Hemy Neuman. Was it ever proven that she did actually have an affair with him?

    1. Dont forget about Melony whites testimony,who solidifies that neuman told her how Andrea finally 'gave in'

  2. The wife of the murderer, Ms. Neuman, thought her husband was having an affair with Ms. Sneiderman. A barkeeper at one of the hotels Mr. neuman and Ms. Sneiderman went to on one of the many business trips they went to together claimed they looked like newlyweds, kissing, touching and groping each other. There were 1400 phone calls between Mr. Neuman and Ms. Sneiderman in the 6 months that led up to the murder of Ms. Sneiderman's husband.

    All the aboves is that Mr. Neuman and Ms. Sniederman were likely having an affair but having an affair does not prove Ms. Sniederman had anything to do with the murder of her husband.

  3. I think the above case proves that these days all you have to do is tell the biggest lie that you can. It is sort of the conclusion that the great dictators of the world came to when they developed the concept of propaganda. Ms. Sneiderman seemed to have pulled the wool over some people's eyes. She got off with five years and cried about not being taken away from her children. What about her poor husband? He will never get the chance to see his children again.

  4. Mr. Fisher, thank you for this synopsis of the original trial. Can you explain why Hemy Neuman has been granted a new trial and what different outcome he is hoping for as far a sentencing is concerned?

    1. He was granted a new trial because certain psychological records were allowed to be presented that shouldn't have been admitted. I assume he felt as though he had a chance at a Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity verdict and might as well try since he stood to lose nothing. His original verdict got him life without parole.